Relief from the storm: Local band Salty Roots to play for Tsunami victims

Rachel Johnson was really depressed. The lead singer for local band Salty Roots had been hearing about the aftermath of December’s tsunami.

“She wanted to make a difference, but felt really overwhelmed,” said Fred Matagi, program coordinator for the Pacific Islander Student Association.

After performing at a Salt Lake City Weekly-sponsored concert last month, she decided to use her band and its talents to help raise money.

In a matter of weeks, Johnson and a group of students from the U and BYU organized a relief concert.

“We’ll have dance groups, local bands and a performance by the Odyssey Dance Theatre,” Matagi said. There will also be raffles and a silent auction, with 100 percent of the evening’s proceeds going to UNICEF to help children in some of the hardest-hit countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maldives.

The benefit concert will be held at the Utah cultural Celebration Center from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. The admission fee will be $5 per person. “This is for the small person. It’s for someone who feels like they can’t donate thousands of dollars or even hundreds,” said Matagi.

However, donations of any amount are welcome, he added.

According to UNICEF’s Web site (, the organization can use that $5 cover charge to provide an emergency health kit for one person for three months, with medical supplies and drugs to cover basic health needs. For an extra $1.30, attendees can immunize a child against measles and provide lifesaving antibiotics for a child suffering from pneumonia.

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